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Tampa Bay Rays centerfielder B.J. Upton confident shoulder injury is minor

ST. PETERSBURG — CF B.J. Upton is painfully familiar with shoulder injuries, including surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left after the 2008 season.

So though he was uncomfortable and frustrated to be forced from Monday's game and likely sidelined at least tonight due to a right shoulder strain, he seemed confident the injury was not significant. "This is a little bit different,'' he said. "I'm just glad it's not in the back of my shoulder. I don't think it will be anything too serious. It's more muscle.''

Upton was injured reaching for Delmon Young's eighth-inning drive, not when he collided with the wall a few steps later, then going down quickly and in obvious pain.

"I think I just kind of overextended my right arm, the muscle just kind of went numb, and it started to hurt a little bit," Upton said. After the game he said it had begun to tighten but — with no MRI exam scheduled — he planned to report today to see how he felt and then decide his availability.

Manager Joe Maddon was assuming Upton wouldn't be available tonight, planning to play rookie Desmond Jennings — who got Monday off until pinch-hitting — in center. Maddon said head athletic trainer Ron Porterfield's initial thought was Upton wouldn't be out long and was considered day-to-day: "We don't think it's anything serious.''

LOCKED AND LOADED: In his past two starts, LHP David Price has handled the American League's top two teams, the Yankees and Red Sox.

He'll have a third straight difficult assignment tonight when he faces a Tigers team that leads the AL Central and ranks among the league's most offensive in average, runs, home runs, and slugging and on-base percentages.

"I'm sure it's taxing," Price said, "but it's fun. It is. You have to show up to the yard that day with your good stuff in order to help your team try and win. Obviously it's not always the funnest thing to do, but whenever you go out there and pitch well against these teams, it feels good. So I'm riding some confidence right now, and I feel good."

SPECIAL EFFECTS: What the Rays said was a direct lightning strike on Tropicana Field just before game time created two problems, though neither affected play. Several banks of lights were knocked out, but they were restarted in time for the game, and the speakers on the first-base side were also knocked out, causing a loud droning sound during the first inning until workers reset them.

MINOR MATTERS: Double-A Montgomery RHP Chris Archer was named Southern League pitcher of the week after tossing seven one-hit shutout innings at Birmingham, improving to 4-0, 2.10 in his past five starts. … The four draft picks signed at the Aug. 15 deadline — RHP Taylor Guerrieri, OF Mikie Mahtook, INF Tyler Goeddel and LHP Grayson Garvin — have reported to Port Charlotte. Goeddel is the only one likely to play before the minor-league season ends. … Top prospect LHP Matt Moore, 3-0, 1.04 in six starts since his promotion, will pitch tonight for Triple-A Durham.

MISCELLANY: Johnny Damon tied Rickey Henderson for 46th on the all-time doubles list at 510. … 3B Evan Longoria homered for the 10th time in his past 30 games. … OF Matt Joyce is 5-for-8 with two homers in his two games hitting leadoff. … The Rays are 0-4 against the Tigers. … Sunday's walkoff homer was the Rays' fifth, a team season record (four in 2000, '07, '08). … OF Justin Ruggiano (left knee bursitis) could start playing in rehab games for Durham tonight. … Sunday's game, Stats Inc. said, was the first time since MLB adopted replay that a grand slam was taken away. … Price said his dog, Astro, was "exhausted" after spending Sunday at the stadium for a dual promotional giveaway: "He had a long day, and I know he had a lot of fun."

Tampa Bay Rays centerfielder B.J. Upton confident shoulder injury is minor 08/22/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, August 23, 2011 1:30am]

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